Traditional methods of bee keepingECO-Shops Uganda
Traditional methods of bee keeping are still predominant in Uganda where it remains an important seasonal activity in many regions. Rural people have a good knowledge of bees, plants and places favoured by bees but hives are usually destroyed and colonies often killed in the process of collecting honey. Contamination and fermentation of honey is also common. Despite the diversity of vegetation suitable for bees in the region, a shortage of bees means that beekeepers are dependent on collecting swarming bee stock. The current shortage is also limiting production of honey and by-products for which there is considerable potential.
Beehives are traditionally constructed from timber, bamboo boruss palms or woven from forest climbers and honey is usually harvested twice a year between March – June and the secondary season in August – October. The most favoured bees are Apis mellifera adansonii but six species of stingless Trigonid bees are also used in Ugandan honey production. However, hives are crudely raided at night with the use of grass torches and fire to smoke out the bees leaving many colonies destroyed. Honey is eaten directly from combs or is extracted and the surplus is sold or given to neighbours or relatives. Other bee products (brood comb and bee bread) are also harvested but, although they may be used, they are often wasted.